Excerpt from The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had by Kristin Levine, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had

by Kristin Levine

The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2009, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2010, 272 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Jo Perry

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

1

THE NEW POSTMASTER

I’ve been wrong before. Oh, heck, if I’m being real honest, I’ve been wrong a lot. But I ain’t never been so wrong as I was about Emma Walker. When she first came to town, I thought she was the worst piece of bad luck I’d had since falling in the outhouse on my birthday. I tell you, things were fine in Moundville before Emma got here, least I thought they were. Guess the truth is, you’ll never know how wrong I was till I’m done telling and explaining—so I’d better just get on with the story.

My real name is Harry Otis Sims, but everybody calls me Dit. See, when I was little, I used to roll a hoop down Main Street, beating it with a stick as I ran along. One day, two older boys tried to steal my hoop. I hit them with my stick and told them, “Dit away.” They laughed. “You talk like a baby. Dit, dit, dit.” The name stuck.

There are ten children in our family: Della, Ollie, Ulman, Elman, Raymond, me, Earl, Pearl, Robert and Lois. That’s just too many kids. There are never leftovers at supper, and you never get new clothes. We don’t even get to go to the store for shoes: Mama just keeps them all in a big old barrel. When the pair you’re wearing gets too tight, you throw yours in and pick out another one. With so many kids, sometimes I think my pa don’t even know my name, since it’s always, “Della, Ollie, Ulman, Elman, Raymond, uh, I mean Dit.”

We all live in a big old house that Pa built himself right off Main Street in Moundville, Alabama. Most of the people in Moundville are farmers like my pa. Just about everything grows well in our rich, dark soil, but especially corn and cotton. Before I even had my nickname, Pa taught me how to count by showing me the number of ears of corn to feed the mule.

Most evenings my whole family, and just about everybody in town, gathers in front of Mrs. Pooley’s General Goods Store to wait for the train. Mrs. Pooley is the meanest old lady I’ve ever met. She smokes, spits and has a temper shorter than a bulldog’s tail. But her store has a wide, comfortable porch and a great view of the train depot, just across the street. The evening Emma came, Mrs. Pooley sat in her usual rocker, smoking a pipe with Uncle Wiggens.

Uncle Wiggens ain’t really my uncle, everyone just calls him that. He’s over eighty and fought in the War Between the States. He only has one leg and one hero, General Robert E. Lee. Uncle Wiggens manages to work Lee’s name into pretty much any old conversation. You might say, “My, it’s cold today,” and he’d reply, “You think this is cold? General Lee said it didn’t even qualify as chill till your breath froze on your nose and made a little icicle.” He had about five different stories of how he lost his leg, every one of them entertaining.

That night I was listening to the version that involved him running five Yankees into a bear’s den as I wound a ball of twine into a baseball. Course if I’d had the money, I could have bought a new ball at Mrs. Pooley’s store, but if you wind twine real careful, it’s almost as good as a real ball.

The new postmaster was coming to town, and the grown-ups were as wound up as the kids on Christmas. The postmaster was in charge of sorting and delivering the mail, but he also sent and received telegrams. This meant he knew any good gossip long before anybody else. The last postmaster had been a lazy good-for-nothing: everyone had gotten the wrong mail two days late. He and his family had finally skipped town for refusing to pay their debts at Mrs. Pooley’s store.

I was excited too. The new postmaster, Mr. Walker, was supposed to have a boy who was twelve, just like me. I sure hoped he liked to play baseball. It was June 1917, and my best friend, Chip, had just left to spend the summer with his grandma in Selma.

  • 1
  • 2

Excerpted from The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had by Kristin Levine. Copyright © 2009 by Kristin Levine. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    by Scott Stambach
    BookBrowse First Impression reviewers were uniformly impressed by this difficult yet heartwarming ...
  • Book Jacket: Boy Erased
    Boy Erased
    by Garrard Conley
    Growing up in rural Arkansas, Garrard Conley did not quite fit the mold of his strait-laced, ...
  • Book Jacket: The Bones of Grace
    The Bones of Grace
    by Tahmima Anam
    The Bones of Grace completes Tahmima Anam's Bangladesh trilogy. The three novels, which can be ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Underground Airlines
    by Ben Winters

    "The Invisible Man meets Blade Runner in this outstanding alternate history thriller." - PW Star

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
    by Bryn Greenwood

    A memorable coming-of-age tale about loyalty, defiance, and the power of love.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.